Instructional coaches and school leaders spend a great deal their time facilitating reflection. Reflection can be the key to teacher and student success. My friends and fellow ASCD authors, Pete Hall and Alisa Simeral, are constantly reminding us that the more reflective we are, the more effective we are. The question is … Do you carve out enough time for your own reflective practices?
I encourage you spend some time reviewing the past calendar year. Find time free of distractions. Put down the phone. Shut off messages. Head to a coffee shop if you need to get away. The length of time and place is totally up to you. Just find the time. MAKE THE TIME. I promise, it will be well worth it!
For the past two days I’ve started my morning in reflection. I’ve prepared pot of coffee or some of my favorite tea (from an Iowa based Herbal Apothecary), asked Alexa to play some relaxing music and snuggled into my comfy reading chair in my newly remodel home office – a space I’ve created to be more productive and intentional in 2019! I pondered my successes and challenges in 2018 both personally and professionally. I hit a lot of areas – my health, my self-worth, my self-confidence, my finances, my habits, my relationships, my writing, my focus to stay balanced, my faith, and my goals to scale my coaching business to name a few. I have areas in each that I’m quite proud of and areas in each for growth. I also started mapping out some goals for the new year. I’ll make them more permanent in the days to come. I’d like to share with you the tool I used as it may spark interest or set you on the path to find another tool.
To begin, I read a lot of self-help/motivational/habit building type books. I find most are developed upon the premise of coaching ourselves. I often find new techniques, reflective prompts or approaches to add to my coaching bag of tricks. I’ll share some in an upcoming blog post. They really have built a foundation for my coaching – of myself and others.
Commercial Break: A Book Recommendation
Recently I read the book The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins. I had heard it was a good book to overcome a snooze alarm habit. What I learned is that her 5 second rule can be applied to just about anything – both personally and professionally. Mel Robbins developed the rule to combat her own snooze alarm habit (I feel I’m in good company). One evening she happened to watch a rocket launch on TV. The 5-4-3-2-1 BLAST OFF triggered an idea. The next day when her alarm went off she counted 5-4-3-2-1 BLAST OFF and forced herself to get out of bed. Much to her surprise the technique worked and she later discovered it was actually backed by research. I’m happy to report I’m making progress with my snooze alarm habit (having a dog barking in my face helps since he hears the alarm, too, and he needs to go outside). I’m also starting to use 5-4-3-2-1 BLAST OFF in other areas of my life.
The Reflection Idea: Mindset Reset
The 5 Second Rule book lead me to want to learn more from Mel Robbins. I liked her style and tone. You know the drill. I found her on Twitter and Instagram. I signed up for her emails — through which recently discovered her 35 day #MindsetReset Challenge. The challenge includes a free workbook and 35 daily coaching videos sent via email (and she posts them on Twitter). The challenge actually starts January 1, but she has sent out 4 introductory videos (one each day). You can find them on her YouTube Channel.
The 1st video was an introduction of the #MindsetReset Challenge. The Day 2 video walked us through an exercise in the free workbook to rate 6 life areas in 2018 on a scale of 1 to 10. The qualifiers changed, but all had a 10 scale rating. The areas were more personal in nature. She also wanted us provide reasons for our ratings. For example:
- My Work/School (1 = Hate It to 10 = Love It)
- My Money (1 = Scared to 10 = Prepared)
As I was rating, it dawned on me – this same type of rating could be used as we reflect on our individual professional lives in 2018 and guide reflection with the teachers we serve. You could list your own areas to rate set up 1 – 10 qualifiers or uses something like 1 = weak to 10 = strong. Examples includes, but are not limited to:
- Relationships with Teachers (or students)
- Coach/Principal Relationship (or teacher/student relationship)
- Reflective Conversations
- Listening Skills
- Professional Learning Opportunities
- Willingness to receive coaching
In videos 3 and 4, Mel Robbins modeled using this same concept with her son, with slight modifications. Again, this process could be developed with or by teachers to guide student reflection. They could either think of their whole past year or the current academic year.
In video 4 Mel (yes, we are a first name basis now) encouraged us to complete the workbook by determining ONE thing we’d like to change in each area during 2019 and answer a few more reflective prompts. Again, BINGO, this same process could be used to set goals for our professional lives and guide students to plan for the year ahead.
Putting it in Practice
I’ve mentioned a few ideas above to put this into practice at a personal and professional level. I can also see it going one set further. This whole process could be a short series of a professional learning/collaboration opportunities for teachers around things such as school-wide mission/goals or with smaller teams, like grade level teams, etc..
First, develop a list of 5 to 6 areas to rate – do this together rather than just handing the group predetermined areas. Next have everyone rate individually. Then participants could reflect on ratings as a group. This reflection could be kept anonymous (think tech tool – survey tool here) or open – both with a focus on moving to determining one area to change in each category.
Teachers could also be encouraged to use a similar process with their students. The students could develop ares to rate, do individual ratings and reflect on their ratings to set either individual and class-wide goals.
These processes could even lead to goal setting between a teacher and a coach/administrator. Take this and play with it however you see fit. I’d love to hear if you give something a try.
Are you Ready?
I encourage you to check out #MindsetReset for more information. I know Mel Robbins has much more in store – the above is just the tip of the iceberg. I highly recommend this process. So far I’ve liked that the daily videos are short bursts, rather than cramming too much into one video. She stays very focused to one main concept (a lesson for us all), she models the process using examples from her own life (a good leadership technique) and she sparks a desire to reflect and improve (sounds like the #coachapproach). I am looking forward to the upcoming videos as she guides us through the difference between making resolutions and changing our mindset. I know I will grow as a coach in the process. I’m a firm believer we all deserve a coach! We understand the benefits of coaching at a deeper level when we ourselves are open to be coached.
Remember to make the time to reflect on all you have accomplished in 2018. Think about areas you’d like to improve. If you are looking for a tool to record your yearly goals, set the pace for your month, stay on track each day and reflect at the end of each month – sign up for my monthly newsletter and get a FREE 30 page Coaching Organizer!
Just as I am finishing up this post I happened upon a live stream Mel Robbins did today. The video recording is a little longer (49 minutes). If you are pressed for time start around the 5 minute mark. She was using a new streaming software and it took a while to set up. Off to watch it! Join me!
My wish for you is to SHINE in 2019. Together we will make that happen!
Do you want to reach your goals even faster? How about having a coach of your own? Check out my Virtual Coaching for Instructional Coaches and School Leaders! Your first call is always FREE! My goal is for YOU to SHINE!
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